Owning a boat is a big investment, so it is important to check before you buy and see which boat you think would be the best fit for you, and that you would make the best use of. There will be a variety of boats available, varying in type, style, size and condition, so it is possible to use a boat surveyor to assist you with choosing the most appropriate one, and help you decide when is the best time to buy.
Some key aspects to consider when purchasing a boat include:
When purchasing a boat, it is crucial to think about which waterways you will want to use it on, and if there is more than one type of waterway that you would like to use. Canal and river navigations do vary in size, so ensure you check if the boat will fit comfortably and safely in your chosen waterway.
The majority of locks on the narrow network allow for boats of up to 70-72ft in length. In spite of this, some locks are shorter and have much tighter corners, so a length of 58-60ft may be a better option, allowing for easier cruising. If a boat is wider than 7ft in total, it is likely that it will not be able to fit through narrow locks.
Cruisers are a common type of boat which are available in a variety of lengths and widths, meaning you can buy one of appropriate size for your desired waterway. Narrowboats are also usually available in a range of sizes, whilst narrowboat cruisers have more read deck space. Narrowboat semi-trads look like traditional narrowboats, however have more deck space.
There are also boats available which look like narrow boats, but can be built up to 13′ wide offering extra space inside the boat. Converted barges are boats which used to be used to transport goods, however have now been adapted for casual use. These typically come from England or Holland, and vary from 40′ to 120′ with beams between 10′ to over 16′.
If you’re looking for a boat which you don’t desire to move a lot, static houseboats may be a good option as they can also be towed. Usually, these boats consist of a floating pontoon made of steel and have a caravan style home built above.
Buying a boat secondhand can save a lot of money, and it is important to do checks beforehand to ensure that the boat is in a decent condition. It is important to check that the boat has a sound hull and a well maintained engine, alongside a sound internal infrastructure and relatively clean engine bilge.
It is usually recommended to use a professional surveyor when buying a boat. The surveyor should have a marine engineering background, able to ensure the quality and condition of a boat you would potentially like to buy.
The boat safety scheme does not offer valuations or hull integrity assessments which may be necessary in order to obtain insurance. These may also be necessary to obtain a mortgage for the boat.
The survey fee will be dependent on it’s scope. This will be affected by whether it includes the boat safety certificate and whether a haul-out is required, however this roughly usually costs £300 plus VAT.